African American men, African American women, Black Marriage, Blackness, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, gay, homosexuality, Interracial marriage, Jason Collins, Marriage, Michael Jordan, NBA, preference, professional athletes, same sex attraction
Jason Collins of the Boston Celtics bears the distinction of being an openly gay professional athlete clothed in Black and Male. “Black Man” used as a term of strength and power coupled with gay may present to some as sort of an oxymoron. A bravado of masculinity in the professional athletic world seems to be valued at all cost regardless if it is irresponsible, brazen, hypersexual and/or hurtful. No worries, this is not a male-bashing forum; nor is it a gay-bashing diatribe. In fact, it’s not even an anti-professional athletes. Instead, it’s a thought piece focused on our reactions toward homosexuality when Black Masculinity yearns for pride: education, upward mobility, healthy manhood, fatherhood, and husband-hood (if you will); where stereotypes are diminished in search of being demolished. Essentially, the shining example of a BMW (Black Man Working) in a pinstripe suit saving the so-called “Strong Black Woman” from the doldrums of having to do it all will be a more palatable and visible image than sagging pants hanging on the corner up to no good (or assumed as such).
So Michael Jordan’s marriage to a much younger White woman should not come as a surprise. A number of Black male professional athletes were married to Black women, and later married White women (Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Casey Jones, Scottie Pippen, etc.). Living in an America where same-color marriage was unwritten (and written) law, Black male professional athletes had the choice of marrying Black; or no one at all. Some will say it’s because these men were exposed to a new living and life that their Black wives didn’t and/or never will understand. Some will say that they believe White women are just better and less trouble. However, my belief is that loving a White woman was what they wanted in the first place. The national venue by which they played for was in agreement with the color politics of the land; and these men preferred to maintain their careers for the sake of their families – and themselves.
In other words, Jason Collins has a same-sex attraction and Michael Jordan has an attraction to White women. There, I said it! What does this say about Black Male Professional Athletes other than the fact there is a part of America that is allowing their preferences to be expressed in public; an exhaling if you will. Disagreeing with same sex attraction does not make you homophobic any more than agreeing with same-color marriages makes you racist. Simplistic as this sounds, your preferences make you and I human – and in 2013 this humanity has been extended to the Black Male Professional Athlete that does not get them labeled anti-masculine and anti Black woman. This is simply just who they are. Period.